[Ads-l] Quote About Wagner's Music

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Nov 25 19:26:06 EST 2016


The Quote Investigator website now has an entry on this topic:

Wagner’s Music Is Really Much Better Than It Sounds
http://quoteinvestigator.com/2016/11/25/wagner-better/

[Begin acknowledgement]
Great thanks to Fred R. Shapiro whose inquiry led QI to formulate this
question and perform this exploration. Shapiro knew that Twain had
credited Nye. Thanks to Ralph Keyes whose research recorded in “The
Quote Verifier” identified important citations. Also, thanks to Barry
Popik whose work identified key citations. In addition, thanks to
Nigel Rees who mentioned the valuable “Punch” magazine citation in
“Cassell’s Humorous Quotations”.
[End acknowledgement]

Garson

On Sun, Nov 20, 2016 at 3:50 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> You're welcome, Fred. Here are some more details. On August 4, 1887
> "The Wichita Daily Beacon" reprinted a column by Bill Nye with an
> acknowledgement to the "New York World" newspaper. (Hence, an earlier
> citation exists in the "New York World").
>
> The column called "His Information Bureau" began with a letter from
> "TRUTH SEEKER" to Nye that posed several questions. One question was
> about classical music. The word "distinguish" was spelled
> "destinguish":
>
> [ref] 1887 August 4, The Wichita Daily Beacon, His Information Bureau:
> Bill Nye Takes a Man into His Confidence and educates Him (From the
> New York World), Quote Page 2, Column 2, Wichita, Kansas.
> (Newspapers_com)[/ref]
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> What is the peculiarity of classical music and how can one destinguish it?
> [End excerpt]
>
> Nye answered with a version of the quip that was later applied to
> Wagner's music.
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> The peculiar characteristic of classical music is that it is really so
> much better than it sounds.
> [End excerpt]
>
> On November 22, 1889 "The Indianapolis News" reported that Bill Nye
> employed the Wagner quip while he was visiting Philadelphia:
>
> [ref] 1889 November 22, The Indianapolis News, "SCRAPS", Quote Page 2,
> Column 3, Indianapolis, Indiana. (Newspapers_com)[/ref]
>
> https://www.newspapers.com/image/34568113/?terms=Nye%22
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> Says a Philadelphia newspaper: "Bill Nye on his recent visit to this
> city to lecture called upon a well-known music lover, and while there
> was asked to write in an autograph album. He did so, and among other
> things wrote the following: "Wagner's music, I have been informed, is
> really much better than it sounds.'"
> [End excerpt]
>
> Garson
>
>
> On Sun, Nov 20, 2016 at 2:42 PM, Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at yale.edu> wrote:
>> Thanks to Garson for his characteristically helpful reply.  I had searched barrypopik.com for "richard wagner" and found nothing, but it turns out that Barry's entry avoids giving Wagner's first name.
>>
>>
>> Fred Shapiro
>>
>>
>>
>> ________________________________
>> From: Project-wombat <project-wombat-bounces at lists.project-wombat.org> on behalf of ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>
>> Sent: Sunday, November 20, 2016 2:28 PM
>> To: list at project-wombat.org
>> Subject: Re: [PW] ? Quote About Wagner's Music (Quotation Query #755)
>>
>> Barry Popik has a valuable entry on the topic here:
>>
>> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.barrypopik.com_index.php_new-5Fyork-5Fcity_entry_wagners-5Fmusic-5Fis-5Fbetter-5Fthan-5Fit-5Fsounds&d=CwICAg&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=sRkhHMQo6W5Ird1lkQFqb23bCfSHAR2XjUSUG53db5M&m=-z0GoZCN6TQu1BDm1pypCr76vdFi4IPiFyEzPHFRCho&s=DBbppxE39MQ5JfLuk-5-SYcgDfZyBN4snGPStLGyZP0&e=
>>
>> The newspapers.com database has some slightly earlier citations:
>>
>> The "classical music" variant in "Bill Nye's Bureau" article here:
>>
>> The Shippensburg Chronicle
>> Shippensburg, Pennsylvania
>> Thursday, September 1, 1887 - Page 4
>>
>> The "Wagner's music" variant here:
>>
>> The Indianapolis News
>> Indianapolis, Indiana
>> Friday, November 22, 1889 - Page 2
>>
>> I will share more details when I have a chance. Alternatively, someone
>> may antedate these citations.
>>
>> Garson
>>
>> On Sun, Nov 20, 2016 at 1:52 PM, John Cowan <cowan at ccil.org> wrote:
>>> On Sun, Nov 20, 2016 at 1:45 PM, Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at yale.edu>
>>> wrote:
>>>
>>> In the Yale Book of Quotations I cite "Wagner's music is better than it
>>>> sounds" to Bill Nye, quoted in Mark Twain's Autobiography.
>>>
>>>
>>> Note that Nye, as reported by Twain, prefixed the famous words with the
>>> significant
>>> "I have been told that", suggesting that the idea was already a trope at
>>> the time.
>>>
>>> --
>>> John Cowan          https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__vrici.lojban.org_-7Ecowan&d=CwICAg&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=sRkhHMQo6W5Ird1lkQFqb23bCfSHAR2XjUSUG53db5M&m=-z0GoZCN6TQu1BDm1pypCr76vdFi4IPiFyEzPHFRCho&s=tzEqP6nbQ-YJmcQ5W8SKgeAnTxj1NFy5oE4Re15K7aU&e=         cowan at ccil.org
>>> Any sufficiently-complicated C or Fortran program contains an ad-hoc,
>>> informally-specified bug-ridden slow implementation of half of Common Lisp.
>>>         --Greenspun's Tenth Rule of Programming (rules 1-9 are unknown)
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Project Wombat - Project-wombat
>>> list at project-wombat.org
>>> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.project-2Dwombat.org_&d=CwICAg&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=sRkhHMQo6W5Ird1lkQFqb23bCfSHAR2XjUSUG53db5M&m=-z0GoZCN6TQu1BDm1pypCr76vdFi4IPiFyEzPHFRCho&s=eUpg1-TYmM1WvldfJOsLvgC72D8zZtRMQRzZEq8LxTg&e=
>> _______________________________________________
>> Project Wombat - Project-wombat
>> list at project-wombat.org
>> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.project-2Dwombat.org_&d=CwICAg&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=sRkhHMQo6W5Ird1lkQFqb23bCfSHAR2XjUSUG53db5M&m=-z0GoZCN6TQu1BDm1pypCr76vdFi4IPiFyEzPHFRCho&s=eUpg1-TYmM1WvldfJOsLvgC72D8zZtRMQRzZEq8LxTg&e=
>>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
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